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Q A With Stephen Kinzer

Series/Special. Author Stephen Kinzer discusses his book, 'The Brothers John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War.' (Stereo)

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Guatemala 15, Washington 13, John Foster Dulles 13, United States 11, Allen Dulles 10, Vietnam 8, Us 8, Cia 7, New York 6, Moscow 5, Eisenhower 5, Princeton 5, Kremlin 4, Indonesia 4, Greece 4, Iran 4, America 4, Sullivan 3, Cromwell 3, Kennedy 3,
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  CSPAN    Q A With Stephen Kinzer    Series/Special. Author Stephen Kinzer discusses his book,  
   'The Brothers John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their...  

    November 4, 2013
    6:00 - 7:01am EST  

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of this big airport. i went to see it while i was writing this book. i couldn't find it. i started asking security guards. where is nobody had ever even the big bust of dulles? nobody had ever even heard of it. it was a long process and finally, thanks to the washington airport loss -- the washington airports authority, i was able to discover that the bust had been taken away from its place in the middle of the airport and it is now in a closed conference room opposite baggage claim number three. i find this a wonderful metaphor for how the dulles brothers who at one time exercised earth shattering power and were able to make and break governments have now been effectively forgotten and airbrushed out of our entire history. >> who were -- or who was allen dulles and who was john foster dulles? >> of these two brothers were about the most extraordinary pair of siblings to emerge in american history up to that point. they grew up in an atmosphere of
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religious piety. they grew up in a parsonage and were deeply influenced by the ideals of missionary calvinism, the idea that the world is divided between good and evil and that christians have to go out into the world and transform the evil into good. a very short step from that to take it into politics and believe that politically, the world is divided between good regimes and evil regimes. and that it is the duty of the good regimes, that is us to go , out into the world and destroy that evil. that is an important part of the dulles brothers' formation. the other big influence on them was the decades that they spent as corporate lawyers working for this very important law firm, sullivan and cromwell in new york. that was not a law firm that you went to if you needed a contract drawn up or to be represented in court.
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sullivan and cromwell had a specialty. that was pressuring small weak countries to accept the demands of big american corporations. that is what allen dulles and foster dulles devoted their lives to doing. so in their own minds, the interests of the united states and the interests of american multinational corporations became the same thing. they came into office, one as secretary of state and the other as director of the cia, with ease to influences. this religious view of the world divided between good and evil and many years of working for corporations that shape to their view of how american foreign policy should work. >> when was john foster dulles secretary of state? >> both of them came to power at the same time. they were sworn in immediately after president eisenhower took office in 1953. it was the only time in american history that siblings had controlled the overt and covert sides of foreign policy. >> you have a second part of your book about six monsters.
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i've got the pictures here. the first one is mossadegh. if i could get a brief synopsis about who they are. >> in 1821, john quincy adams made a famous speech on the fourth of july. he said, america does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. but the dulles brothers did. they were carrying out a secret world war even at a time when we thought we were at peace. they went after six monsters, six figures that they found evil in the world. one right after the other. the first was prime minister mossadegh of iran who they overthrew in august of that year. the next year, they overthrew president arbenz in guatemala. the next year, they launched an operation against ho chi minh. that failed miserably and was the operation that dragged the
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united states into the vietnam war. they went after sukarno the , president of indonesia and fomented a civil war there. they went after the elected prime minister of the congo in 1960. their last monster was fidel castro who also survived in their attempts to depose him. >> where were they born? >> the dulles brothers were born and grew up in watertown, new york. actually, foster dulles was born , because his mother came here to live with her father for a few months. watertown, new york on the shores of lake ontario was kind of a playground for the new york rich. the father was not a political --was not a clue took rat
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was not a plutocrat, he was a clergyman. the family was extraordinary. these two brothers grew up in a religious environment. they said their prayers everyday. in the morning, they would take a cold shower, the only kind their father would allow. they would say their prayers, sing a few hymns and then they were free to run down to the shores of lake ontario where relatives were taking them out fishing. those relatives were both secretaries of state. their grandfather, john watson foster had been secretary of state in the 1890's. he was the first to preside over the overthrow of a foreign government. that was hawaii. the dulles family got into the regime change business even before the dulles brothers were born. their uncle, robert lansing was secretary of state during world war i. they grew up in this very elite environment. as young boys they were brought to washington to stay at grandfather foster's mansion. they were having dinner with grover cleveland and william
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howard taft. as children they were able to absorb not just the ideas of the american elite, but their style, the perception, the way this elite looked at the world. this is why i see them as vessels of american history. imagine their grandfather, john watson foster, campaigned for abraham lincoln. and they in office projected american power all over the world during the nuclear age. >> why did you get interested in them and when? >> i wrote a book years ago about how the united states overthrew the arbenz government in guatemala. the dulles brothers played key roles in that overthrow. i wrote another book about how years lateri wrote another book about how the united states overthrew the government of iran. the dulles brothers were also players in that operation. i became more interested as i realized how central the dulles brothers are, not where, in the
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not were. in the 1950's every literate human being in the world knew the name dulles. now, when we look around the world, we are still seeing the results of the dulles brothers' policies. look at the tragedy that unfolded in guatemala with 200,000 dead in civil war and guatemala sliding toward failed state status. look at what we have seen in iran. all of that started with the dulles brothers. look what has happened in the congo. you have had literally millions killed there in the last decade or two. it was the dulles brothers who first intervened to prevent the overthrow. the vietnam war was principally the product of john foster dulles's determination not to go along with the french and british and say, ho chi minh won the war.
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there is nothing we can do. he decided to go and fight. buthe decided to go and fight. when you look around the world, you see today the results of the dulles brothers' interventions. we have now forgotten them. i am trying to bring them back to life and show how not only they were central to shaping the world we now know, but how they reflect many deep impulses in the american psyche and the american politics. >> we have video from 1952 to be able to see what john foster dulles looked and sounded like. >> are we stronger this year against russia than we were last year? >> i think probably not. it is hard to judge those things. my estimate would be that the tide is still running against us. everywhere i look around the world, the question is what are we going to lose next? we seem to be on the defensive
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and they are on the offensive. the question is, what are we going to lose this year more than what are we going to gain? you can look around the whole circle of the world and you find one spot after another where the question is, is it going to be iran or egypt or korea? what is it going to be? >> you talked about elite schools. where did he go early in his life to school? >> his mother didn't think public schools were good enough for him so they engaged a number of private tutors and he went on to princeton. he was quite an outstanding student there. his brother also went to princeton but they developed a totally united view of the world. they always saw the world in the same way, politically and ideologically. they were perfect wins. but in their personalities, they
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were totally different. foster dulles was very dour, very unfriendly, very offputting. i read in one book, even his friends didn't like him. allen dulles was exactly the opposite. he was a sparkling conversationalist. >> let me show you some video of allen dulles. they are not twins. what was the difference in their ages? >> they were five years apart. they were twins politically and ideologically but not biologically. >> who was older? >> foster dulles. >> let's look at allen dulles for a moment. >> there are times when the united states government feels that the developments in another government such as in the vietnam situation is of a nature to imperil the safety, the security, the peace of the world.
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at no time has the cia engaged in any political activity or intelligence activity that was not approved at the highest level. >> he was interviewed by john chancellor of nbc. what was allen dulles like compared to his brother? >> he was a sparkling conversationalist. he had an endless stock of stories. he loved to drink wine. he was an inveterate adulterer. he probably had 100 affairs. from claire whose lease to the queen of greece. booth luce to the
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queen of greece. he was very seductive also for americans. in washington, he seemed like such a nice guy that you got the feeling that he couldn't be doing anything so bad. he was not only the head of the invisible government, he was the ambassador of the invisible government to the visible government. he was absolutely correct when he said that cia operations were all approved at the highest levels, meaning by president eisenhower. there is another piece of this. when you saw john foster dulles lamenting about the world slipping away from the united states and falling away from freedom, the fact is while he was making that clip, stalin had just died and the new leader in the kremlin wanted to have a summit of their new leaders with the western allies. winston churchill thought this was a great idea. the prime minister of france wanted to do it. try to negotiate with the soviets and see if we could manage our differences. foster dulles was absolutely opposed. he was against all contact with any government that we didn't like. when he describes the world as being in complete confrontation, he omits the fact that he was one of the principal figures who intensified and maintained that
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confrontation. >> the women in their lives -- you do cite when they met their women that they married and how quick. they made their decisions rather quickly. explain for both of them. >> their wives reflected the differences between them. the woman that john foster dulles married had dated allen dulles a couple of times. allen dulles found her very boring. he quickly moved on. that was just what foster dulles liked. she, janet avery, was with him his whole life. i'm sure both of them were completely faithful. janet was really his only friend. he would spend his evenings at home and play bridge or he would read a detective novel. that was the extent of their wildness. allen dulles married a very interesting woman.
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she had a lot of emotional and psychological problems. some of them the result of a very unfeeling and unpleasant husband since he made no secret of his adulteries. she became interested in causes like prison reform. i think she began feeling uncomfortable in the relationship. they never actually divorced. by the time allen dulles was the head of the cia, they were effectively living separate lives. >> why would allen dulles right his wife and tell her about his affairs? >> i sometimes wonder about that. was it just that he was unfeeling and didn't realize how hurtful that would be or was he actually trying to insult and humiliate her? it is remarkable when you see what a wonderfully outgoing person he was and how everybody loved him and then compare this with how harshly and unfailingly he treated his wife.
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-- and un-feelingly he treated his wife. maybe it reflects something that is true in many of us. we are all for loving people in general but it is more difficult when we have to love individuals. >> where did you find the affairs that you write about? where was the information? >> this information is scattered in a lot of places. one of the things that drove me in writing this book is that nobody has in this century ever focused on the dulles brothers. i immersed myself in particular in the princeton university archives where both dulles brothers had deposited their papers. there is a lot of rich stuff in there including oral histories that referred to these affairs. also other curious aspects that have never been published before about the dulles brothers. i tried to present a picture of them not just as political leaders but as people. who were they?
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i am a great believer in telling stories. i want people to finish a chapter and want to turn the page to find out what happens next. this is not an academic study. there have been good academic studies of the dulles brothers but that is not what this is. in office >> there is a person , that a lot of americans might know now who was named after janet avery. he turned out to be a cardinal in the catholic church. i want to show video of him and explain the relationship between john foster dulles and a cardinal who was his own son. >> the government has an interest in seeing that the moral tone of society is kept in order just for the sake of the observance of law and the making of law. it is very important and people have the right to moral and religious values.
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i hope that many will feel that is an important thing. even though they can't directly legislate morality or law or religion, they can nevertheless support it in various ways. by the own example and the tone of their lives. >> what was cardinal dulles's relationship with his father? >> actually i found out , something about that that i don't think has ever been published, buried in oral history in the princeton dulles archives. in that oral history, it is an interview with one of the law partners at sullivan cromwell. he says one day, foster dulles called me frantically and said, this is the worst day of my life. you have got to come in right now to my office. i went to his office. i saw him very upset. he handed me a letter and asked me to read it. the letter was to his son, avery, who had decided to become a catholic. for someone like john foster dulles, it would have been
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better if his son had become a hindu. a catholic was absolutely intolerable. in this letter, foster dulles writes to his son, never speak to me again, never call me again, you are not my son. i have nothing to do with you. his partner recalls -- he said, i spent four hours with dulles that afternoon and finally persuaded him not to send the letter. nonetheless, their relationship was quite strained until late in life. i don't think that foster dulles could ever come to grips with the fact that he had a catholic in his family. >> my memory is that avery dulles died in the 90's. >> he lived to quite an advanced age. >> how did he become a cardinal? >> he was a very conservative theologian. his conservatism and his conservative writing attracted the attention of pope john paul ii.
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without going through the normal rise in hierarchy the cardinals go through, avery dulles was named by pope john paul ii directly as a cardinal. >> what did it mean to be a presbyterian in the dulles's early days? >> i think what it meant was to see the world as made up of good and evil. in other cultures, we sometimes think that all people and all governments are made up of good and evil impulses and these impulses come out in different proportions depending on circumstances. calvinism doesn't teach you that. foster dulles not only grew up in a religious environment, but missionaries who were coming back from syria and china and the undeveloped world. they were regular guests in their home. he grew up hearing the stories about the need to go out and convert the heathens and savages and the unbelievers.
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i think he took that christian ethos and applied it to politics. >> there was no mention of him being anti-anything else. why was he anti-catholic? >> i think it is a part of traditional conservative calvinism that the catholic church went off in a terrible direction and became evil. protestantism or calvinism was the true church. therefore, catholics were seen as agents of the devil. it is hard to imagine but there was intense anti-catholic feeling in this country for many years. foster dulles was certainly an example of that. >> john foster dulles died when and of what and the same for allen dulles?
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how long was allen dulles the head of the cia? >> foster dulles died in office. he had resigned a couple of weeks before, actually. he died in 1959. americans mourned his passing. they have always thought of him as the tough guy who snarled at them. he was never popular or beloved. when he died, there was an outpouring of grief. the funeral was carried live on nationwide television. he faded from national memory but at least he died before his reputation began to decline. the same did not happen to allen dulles. allen was still alive when john f. kennedy was elected president. one of kennedy's very first announcements after the election was that he was going to keep allen dulles on as head of the cia. the first operation that allen dulles directed for president kennedy was the bay of pigs invasion of cuba. that was such a disaster that president kennedy asked his aides in fury, how could i have been so stupid?
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shortly thereafter, he fired allen dulles. allen dulles did live to see his reputation decline and died later in the 1960's. >> go back to the story about naming the airport which is 26 miles outside of washington, dulles international, versus chantilly international which kennedy supposedly wanted to name it. when did jack kennedy change his mind about that name and how did they get it back on track? >> you are right. it was eisenhower's idea that the airport should be named after dulles. dulles was a crusty old cold warrior and kennedy represented a new era. he didn't like the idea of so when he came inhe didn't like the idea of naming the airport , after dulles. they were going to name it chantilly. there was some talk of naming it after george marshall. allen dulles and others around him launched a pressure campaign against president kennedy and the head of the federal aviation
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administration, and kennedy finally gave in and decided he didn't need to pick a fight on this one. i think even eisenhower was indirectly pushing kennedy to name it after dulles. we got this airport -- i used to think it was an awful thing, looking back and considering the legacy of the dulles brothers that this airport carries that name. now i feel differently. because if that airport didn't have that name, nobody would even know who the dulles brothers were. i can tell you that while i was writing this book, sometimes people would ask me, what is your new book about? i would say i am writing a book about dulles. they would say, the airport? >> how long did you write for "the new york times"? >> 23 years. that is an indirect reason why i
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got interested in these operations. when i was covering big events in the middle east and europe and latin america, i was always frustrated at writing only about what happened today. what i was really interested in is, what happened yesterday? how did we get here? why is this happening? when i get to countries like guatemala, iran, i always ask myself, why is this country like this? why is the country poor and miserable? why is a country rich and powerful? over and over, i was able to trace the answers in countries that have fallen into chaos, like the congo and iran, back to the dulles brothers. i am following history back and trying to find out why the world today is the way it is. a lot of the answers to that question have to do with the dulles brothers. >> how many different places did you live? >> i had three foreign assignments.
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my first was in central america. i covered the wars of el salvador and guatemala and nicaragua. after nicaragua, i was sent to berlin. the wall was falling. european unification was starting. the wars in yugoslavia also became a part of my job. then, i became the first bureau chief in istanbul which was a great assignment. partly because it allowed me to start getting into iran and beginning to understand the country that we have a lot of difficulty understanding because of our emotions. when i got to iran, i remember asking people, why is a country with this history and this culture so unhappy and miserable and isolated and poor? people told me, actually we had a democracy here once. the dulles brothers came and destroyed it. i didn't know anything about that. i don't think most americans did or do. this book is trying among other things to explain to americans not only why some countries in
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the world have fallen into this chaos after american intervention, but who organized that intervention and what were the forces that propel those that repelled those interventions? thosedpro-pal interventions? you left "the new york times" what year? what are you doing now besides writing books? >> i left in 2006 after 23 years. i am now a visiting fellow at the watson institute at brown university. >> what other institutions have you talk? >> this is my third university. i taught at northwestern and boston university and i'm now thrilled being a brown. >> here is allen dulles talking about mossadegh. we will ask you more about that after we watch this. >> the government of mossadegh was overthrown by the shah. i will not deny.
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>> actually, the shah had tried to fire mossadegh but failed. with the help of the cia, he was ousted. mossadegh's crimes had been his nationalization of the great pool of persian oil. when it was all over, the west had held onto the oil and mossadegh had only his famous tears. >> what is the back story on this? >> the back story is really fascinating. it is one of the stories i tell in the book. as private lawyers, john foster dulles and allen dulles represented many of america's biggest corporations. what they promised those clients is, we will protect you. nothing will ever happen to your foreign operations as long as you have us. two things happened in 1951 that showed they couldn't keep their promise. number one, mohammed mossadegh nationalized the iranian oil industry. that had formerly belonged to a company called the anglo-
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iranian oil company. the financial agent for that oil company was something called the schroeder bank which was represented by sullivan and cromwell. allen dulles was on the board of directors of the schroeder bank. he had to go to the schroeder bank people and say, i failed. you heard me to protect her interest in iran and i couldn't do it. almost immediately thereafter, in guatemala, the congress passed a land reform act that required united fruit company to sell its unused land to the government so it could be parceled out and given to peasants. so the dulles brothers had to go to united fruit company and say, we failed. we couldn't protect you. and they didn't like to fail. they developed a deep grudge so against mossadegh in iran and arbenz in guatemala. they couldn't do anything about it because there were private -- because they were only private lawyers, but they carried that grudge with them into office. their very first project -- as soon as they took office in 1953 was to plot against mossadegh.
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the moment they had overthrown him, they overthrew arbenz. so they carried this grudge. it was a grudge based essentially on the fact that these two leaders, mossadegh in iran and arbenz and guatemala had deeply wounded companies that the dulles brothers had promised to protect. that was a crime that they never forgave. >> beyond that, there were four other botches that you talked -- four other monsters that you talked about. how did they get involved in that? what drove them to ho chi minh and fidel castro? they were in office when they did this. what was their motive? >> you are quite right they , carried these two grudges with them into office. the others were grudges or enmities that they developed while in office. the vietnam story is fascinating and really tragic. john foster dulles was the american delegate to a big conference in geneva in 1954 to discuss the future of vietnam.
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right at the time when the french had suffered their big defeat and concluded they have lost the war. winston churchill agreed with them. he had a great line to foster dulles. he said the loss of the fortress must be faced. in other words, we don't like it, but ho chi minh is very popular and nobody can defeat him. foster dulles refused to believe that. he said, we can do it. if he had made a different decision on his way home from the geneva conference, the united states would never have become involved in the vietnam war. that is really one of the great legacies of foster dulles personally. having failed to topple ho chi minh, they then went on to another leader in the
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neighborhood in indonesia. his great crime was to embrace an ideology that the dulles brothers detested almost as much as bolshevism. that was neutralism. they were trying to undermine the entire foundation of the cold war by saying, countries don't have to choose between moscow and washington. we are not involved in this conflict. that drove foster dulles and allen dulles crazy. their idea was, our policy is global. he called neutralism immoral. he insisted that they show they were pro-american otherwise he would assume they were anti- american. the dulles brothers fomented a major civil war in indonesia in the mid-1950's. it failed but it created tensions that exploded during the 1960's and led to a horrific massacre in which about one million indonesians were killed.
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another neutralist who emerged in the world during this period -- emerged during this. and the congo, this was a brand- new country. they elected this very interesting but quite militant neutralist figure. it was a very undeveloped political culture. there were no congolese lawyers, no congolese doctors and you they had no experience in government. have to understand that, how underdeveloped belgium had left the congo. the belgians and the americans were terrified because he was so popular. not just in the congo but throughout the third world. they organized a plot in which he was overthrown and assassinated even before he had completed six months in office. their final target was fidel castro. allen dulles organized the bay of pigs invasion.
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in my chapter about this, i take that from a somewhat different perspective. i noticed as i was reading through a lot of these private documents, something that i don't think that has come out in other histories. allen dulles never attended any of the meetings that planned the bay of pigs invasion. he didn't know what was happening. he left it to subordinates. he wasn't even in washington on the day of the invasion. i believe he was already suffering from the beginnings of dementia. a few years later, he was found wandering in georgetown, not knowing how to find his way home. i think the bay of pigs disaster is in part the result of allen dulles's complete disconnection and the beginning of his fade. >> why did president eisenhower go to the two men in the first phase? what had they done that was attracted to him?
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-- that was attractive to him? >> foster dulles had been the chief foreign policy advisor to eisenhower during the presidential campaign. it was the logical choice. allen dulles was a little different. he was renowned as a terrible administrator and there was some fear, not enough unfortunately, of having two brothers in those important positions. after his inauguration, and after looking at various other candidates eisenhower did , appoint allen dulles. in the years that have followed, there has been a lot of debate about the role of the dulles brothers compared to eisenhower. did the dulles brothers manipulate eisenhower? did they feed them false information? did they act behind his back or did he approve everything they did? we now know that the latter was true. eisenhower knew everything they were doing and he approved everything including the assassination of two foreign leaders.
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he approved the assassination of lumumba and fidel castro. we find this in the documents. he doesn't use the word murder, assassinate, but if you go through the book, i have quoted the actual meetings. minutes of which have much later been declassified and , recollections of people who were in those meetings. you will see the very clear orders from eisenhower. some people have raised this now question. , why would eisenhower have been in favor of covert operations? we don't know for sure because he never spoke about it. that was an age when you believe d secrets should be taken to the grave. i think there were two reasons why eisenhower so strongly supported these covert regime change operations. although nobody knew at that time, covert operations were very important in winning world war ii. we broke the german codes. we had all kinds of fake army units with tanks that were actually blown up balloons to deceive the germans.
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eisenhower as commander of the allied forces would have known about all of these operations. i am sure that he came away from world war ii with a deep appreciation for what covert operations could do. i think he would have seen covert operations as a peace project. you don't have to wage war and kill tens of thousands. you could do this covertly with the deaths of only dozens or hundreds. >> you mentioned allen dulles had an affair. have you know that? -- how do you know that? >> we know it from a series of sources including alan's mistress. as a matter of fact his mistress , was at that time having an affair with henry louis. it is kind of a very closed small circle. i think this was clearly understood. a funny thing that i found in my research -- this is just a speculation on my part. henry louis and allen dulles were quite friendly. not only were they sleeping with each other as partners, but they
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-- were they sleeping with each partners, but they knew each other socially and politically. one of allen dulles's paramore's was the queen of greece. one day, henry louis put the queen of greece on the cover of time magazine. there is a little quote at the bottom and it says, my strength is the love of the people. i wondered, was he sending a quiet little joke to allen dulles? >> you mentioned more than once, henry louis and time magazine and the covers. some of these folks that you write about, the monsters -- explain the role time magazine played. >> it is hard to believe that one person or empire could have such reach because our media landscape is so fractured. between "time" magazine and
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"life" magazine, march of time, radio broadcasts, henry louis probably reached half or more of the literate population of the united states. henry luce was very much like the dulles brothers. he also was a strict presbyterian. he had been born in china, son of missionaries. they worked very closely together, one supporting the other. one great story has to do with the time entries lumumba was supposed to be on the cover of time magazine. they made the portrait but at the last moment, the american government became terrified. i didn't want more publicity. they didn't want this handsome figure on the cover of time magazine. they called henry luce at the very last moment, as the magazine was going to press. finally, he agreed to take lumumba off. they didn't have time to make a new portrait so they took an old picture of the u.n. secretary- general and pasted it against
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the background of tropical trees and african landscapes that had been intended for lumumba. you can now buy the portrait of lumumba on the cover of time that never got to the cover of "time." >> can you also see the cover and see the background? >> absolutely. it is quite incongruous. he should have been portray ed against a very different background. you've got the background of lumumba but the picture of this scandinavian diplomat. >> you point out in your book that ho chi minh was in new york and worked in new york as a pastry chef for a while. here is some video of him. i want you to put him in context. >> ho chi minh is of the blood sweat and tears school. you don't fight a revolution for 30 years without being of the blood sweat and tears school.
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they used to second think or second-guess hope she men. they're much more complicated than that. i am very much afraid that if ho chi minh were to make up his mind, that this is the war to see through, then he might be the man to see it through. >> a shrewd communist revolutionary. the united states it clear its -- made it abundantly clear its willingness to negotiate for peace. it is now up to the old man. >> the first voice you heard was bernard fall a famous history and an author. the second was walter cronkite. ho chi minh, what impact did the dulles brothers have on the vietnam war? >> you are right that ho chi minh did turn up as a pastry chef. he traveled a lot in the world. during world war ii, ho chi minh was leading a resistance force against the japanese invaders. the united states dropped weapons to him. they even dropped cigarette cases. we sent a mission to help them and train them. when the war ended, the head of
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this mission had a private dinner with ho chi minh as he was leaving. he said, i have to ask you one question. are you a communist? ho chi minh replied, yes. i hope that doesn't mean we can't still be friends. to the dulles brothers, it did mean that. the fact is that ho chi minh was a nationalist and a communist. but the dulles brothers only saw the communist part. not only did they feel impelled to wage war against him, but they felt they could win. they had this exaggerated view of american power that whenever we start something, we can win. it was that arrogance that brought the united states into the war in vietnam. >> what was the source of their anti-communism? >> i think it came from their long formation as members of the american elite. of course, decades working to support the power of american
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corporations in the world. communist ideology was always aimed at restricting the ability of international corporations to work freely in many other countries. there is something beyond just ideology that i think must have driven them. it is this idea that there is always a horrible force out there. that is why i start my book with a quote from captain ahab in moby dick. he says, that inscrutable thing is chiefly what i hate. be the white whale's agent or be the white whale's principle, i will wreak my hate upon it. >> you also write in your book about diego rivera's famous painting in which you can see john foster dulles, his brother right behind him with a satchel
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full of money, and general eisenhower down here in a bomb. why did you pick this? >> i consider this to be one of the most brilliant works of political art of the 20th century. while i was writing the book, since the dolls brothers are -- since the dulles brothers are right in the middle of the book, i decided i have to see the picture. i have studied it in reproductions for many years but i had to go see it. i couldn't find it. it should have been in mexico. we checked with every diego rivera group. finally i tracked it down. it is in a museum in moscow. i was willing to go to moscow and i wrote to the museum director and i got back a note saying, i am sorry to tell you but this picture is not on display. it is too big. it is 16 feet long. it is on a roll in the basement. if you come to moscow, i will show you the roll. i can't open it because we don't have any space. this led me to the following conclusion -- that picture is not serving any purpose in the basement of a museum in moscow. nor are the russians the real audience for it.
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i have a suggestion for what we should do with that picture. let us see if we can't take it or borrow it from the russians. we should put that up as the centerpiece of dulles airport and find the old bust of dulles and put it in front of that. that painting would, i think, stimulate not just memories of dulles, but questions about who he was, what he did and who we are that allowed him to do these things. >> you wrote at the end, foster and allen were chief promoters of that fear. they did as much as anyone to shape america's confrontation with the soviet union. their actions helped set off some of the world's most profound long-term crises. why were they such heroes back then and why have they faded now? >> because the long-term effect of their operations were not clear then. it seemed like everything they had done succeeded.
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they got rid of arbenz in guatemala. we never knew that iran was going to spin down into this horrible crisis or what was going to happen in the congo after they assassinated lumumba. at the time, they seemed very successful, very heroic. from historical perspectives, you can see they made a couple of huge misjudgments. number one, after stalin died, they completely refused to fromnd to peace feelers the kremlin. they never tried to see if the new leadership would like to develop a new relationship with the americans. number two, they completely misunderstood third world nationalism. that emerged after world war ii. they saw it as just a kremlin- organized plot. that is not what it was. their final huge misjudgment was that they had no idea of what we today call blowback. they never thought that their operations would have horrible
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effects decades and generations later. >> talking about foster dulles, he conveyed a harsh snarling image that alienated millions and contributed to generations of anti-americanism. why didn't general eisenhower have that same impact? >> eisenhower smiled a lot. john foster dulles never smiled. one example is that in many of these developing countries, like indonesia, afghanistan, the leaders invited both soviet officials and american officials to visit. they wanted eisenhower to come. eisenhower wouldn't go because foster dulles told him countries that are not 100% on our side don't deserve a presidential visit. you have the smiling figures from the kremlin showing up in these countries and promoting a positive image of soviet communism. meanwhile, there was no counterbalance except for the snarling anger that came from
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washington. i think that did undermine the ability of the united states to project our positive values. >> where did you find this little tidbit? foster spoke regularly to the american people, often from a collapsible podium. he carried it on his plane so he could make departure statements and arrival statements. he periodically appealed to europeans but his medication -- his communication efforts stopped there. >> that also comes from a previously embargoed oral history at the princeton dulles archives. one of the aides to foster dulles was interviewed. in there, he says part of my job was to carry the collapsible lectern with a little seal in the front that said secretary of state. it was through those arrival and departure statements that most americans came to know who john foster dulles was. >> how many people had been into
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these princeton archives before you got there? anybody? >> a few. some of the material hadn't been liberated yet or declassified. there are so many pieces in their that not everybody would recognize. i give you one example that i found that nobody has seen before. it really struck me. in these archives, they're not just papers, there are boxes of all kinds of stuff. i found a couple of envelopes full of snapshots, just family pictures, black and white pictures. i looked through them and i was quite surprised to see a picture of allen dulles's wife standing in front of a mayan stella that i could identify as being in a place called bananera where united fruit company had its headquarters. then i saw other snapshots of shopping ats
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markets, she obviously became fascinated with guatemalan culture. then, to my amazement, i found photos of allen dulles's weekend house in long island. from the outside, it looks like all the other houses. when you see the pictures inside, you see the entire room is covered with guatemalan fabrics. there are guatemalan artifacts everywhere. guatemala was a daily physical presence in the life of allen dulles while he was sitting around planning to destroy the democratic government there. >> i don't know whether it is psychiatry or psychology but i want to read this sentence. neurophysiologists, evolutionary biologists and social and cognitive psychologists have made developments about the brain that are relevant to cold war history. >> they have developed concepts
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like groupthink and confirmation bias. what they are telling us now is that there is something in our brain that makes us interpret everything that we see in ways that fit into our pre-existing conceptions. for example, we believed that neutralist governments were all tools of the kremlin. there was no evidence for this. i found this document by the brazilian ambassador here in washington. he met with foster dulles and he said, i asked dulles, how do you know that the land reform program in guatemala was ordered by the kremlin? and foster dulles replied, it is true that we have no evidence but we are proceeding on the assumption that it must be so. so the idea that guatemalans would decide to adopt a policy in guatemala that only had to do with guatemala, nothing to do
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with the cold war, was inconceivable to the dulles brothers. they thought everything in the world was part of the cold war. so when they saw something like a nationalization of oil in iran or acts aimed at restricting a fruit company in guatemala, their mind was programmed to believe that these must have been kremlin thoughts. they ignored evidence to the contrary and embraced whatever they could find to confirm their bias. >> what do you think if the dulleses were back -- there is not much communism left in the world. >> i think they would be quite shocked. i think they never believed that there would have been a negotiated solution and that you could just wait out the communists and ultimately it would fall under its own weight. that was the argument that
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george kennan was making. george kennan clashed violently with foster dulles. foster fired him from the state department. kennan was saying, let's take this doctrine of containment and wait the soviets out. ultimately, their system will fall. foster dulles hated the idea of containment. he said, we need a policy of rollback. we are going to push the communists back. but of course he never did that. >> here is a communist in our hemisphere who is still alive today. this is from 1959. fidel castro. >> why have there been so many executions across cuba without open free trials? >> not so many. >> how many?
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i don't know exactly, but two or three dozen. criminals. i think that justice is needed for the happiness of the country. interviewed by stephen noland of cbs back in 1959. what impact did allen dulles have on that situation there? >> the idea that a radical leader could emerge so close to the american shores was terrifying for the american government. the idea that they could simply say, castro is doing what he wants. he is very popular and there is no need for us to be hostile to him -- this was before he had embraced the soviets -- was impossible. it was unthinkable to them. not only did they believe it was impossible for the united states to coexist with castro, but they honestly believed that with a couple of thousand men, they could spark a national uprising against castro. the idea that castro could be critical of the united states and hugely popular among his own people was inconceivable to them.
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>> john foster dulles died of cancer. how old was he? >> he wasn't that old. in his late 60's. he spent about six months declining very rapidly. >> what about allen dulles? i know you said he had alzheimer's. >> allen dulles died ultimately of heart failure but he had a whole series of ailments. he became quite heavy. he couldn't move very well. in his obituaries, you see a lot more mixed reviews. by the time he died in the late 60's, many of the cia plots had already started to come out. the negative sides of his record were becoming clear. when foster dulles died in the 50s, that hadn't happened yet. everybody was morning him. >> you talk about something -- you had to write this a long time ago. exceptionalism. you define it as the view that the united states has a right to impose its will because it knows
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more, sees farther and lives at a higher moral plane than other nations was to them, the dulles es not a platitude but an organizing principle of daily life and politics. >> i find it remarkable to read this book in the context of what we are living in these days. it was the dulles proposed's idea to never negotiate with your enemies. that is the policy of the united states for almost all the period of the last 60 years. just within the last few weeks, we are seeing quite some break in this. first of all, the president wanted permission to launch a bombing attack against syria. many americans and levers of -- and many members of congress were against it. then, he picked up the telephone and call the president of iran, -- and called the president of
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iran, a country with which we have great hostility for many years. this leads me to ask myself, did the dulles era just end this month? have we had 60 years of this dulles militancy and is it now finally changing? >> i am waiting to see if this a is a permanent change or just a temporary shift. >> are there any dulleses still alive? >> there are. not the generation, but the generation after that. they have all decided to stay out of public life. i wonder if i will hear from any of them after the publication of this book. >> what are your plans for another book? >> i am always interested in why we are like this. that is my big theme. why does the united states behave the way that it does? this book is a biography. it is a biography of the dulles brothers. but it is more than that. i am using the framework of biography why do we behave the to ask this larger question why do we behave the way we do? , whatever my next book is, it will be another way to ask and try to answer that question.
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>> our guest has been stephen kinzer. he spent 20 plus years with the "new york times" as a reporter. now, he teaches at brown university. the book is called "the brothers: john foster dulles, allen dulles, and their secret world war." i thank you very much. >> thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] click for free transcripts or to give us your comments about this program, visit us at q&a.org. q and a programs are also available at c-span outcast. -- as c-span podcasts. live, your calls and comments on washington journal.
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live coverage of the afternoon session of the president's privacy and civil liberties oversight board public meeting to discuss changes to the nsa's data selection. you can watch a morning session live on c-span two at 9:15. >> i'm surrounded by just a few of the items that kept getting on the 10 best dressed list of the first lady. is the outfit she wore to the formal opening of the saint lawrence seaway. another custom-designed dress is this that was referred to as the -- as the twyla tuille. she was very
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fond of the color pink and wore it in many different shades and styles. jackie kennedy is well known for the little black dress and here are two examples of mimi's favorite little black dress. many always said she would never dressed like an old lady. these gowns that you were well into her 70s and 80s show her love of bright colors and wild fabrics. >> first lady mimi eisenhower tonight live at c-span at c- span3. also on c-span radio and c- span.org. on "washington mr. hoagland examines the budget talks on capitol hill and whether another fight over government funding and the debt ceiling can be avoided. series on the afford will health care act, truly appleby will look at individuals who are receiving notices that the health insurance plans are being canceled. later, wall street journal reporter discusses why the
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federal housing administration has received close to 2 billion dollars from the treasury department to stabilize its fiscal position. "washington journal" is next. ♪ good morning, it's monday, november 4, 2013 and here are your headlines -- it is one day to election day in several states and political watchers will look for clues for future congressional races in tomorrow's outcome in key battlefields including virginia. political the ongoing battle over the rollout of the affordable care act continue to play out on the sunday shows yesterday. we will get to those stories this morning on "the washington journal." first, we will talk about a bill that would bill -- that would ban discrimination